The factor structure and measurement equivalency of the Disgust Scale across language and gender

Melanie Wadkins Moretz, Fordham University


The Disgust Scale (DS; Haidt, McCauley, & Rozin, 1994) is a 32-item self-report measure that assesses disgust sensitivity among seven domains: Food, Animals, Body Products, Sex, Envelope Violations, Death, and Hygiene. The eighth subscale, Sympathetic Magic, measures respondents' attitudes about objects that resemble or had brief contact with disgust elicitors from the seven domains. The DS was originally validated on samples in the U.S., and it has since been translated into other languages. Despite the availability of these translated versions, there is a paucity of research on the factor structure of this measure in its various translated forms or its suitability for use with culturally diverse individuals. The current research addressed two key issues pertinent to the measurement of disgust sensitivity. First, this research examined the factor structure of the DS in samples collected in Germany, Italy, Sweden, and the U.S., as well as across gender. Second, the measurement invariance of this construct across language and gender was examined. Establishing measurement invariance across diverse samples is a prerequisite to comparing disgust sensitivity between countries and between genders. Confirmatory factor analysis was used to compare several competing models of interest: a one-factor, correlated two-factor, and seven-factor model. The results for the total sample indicated that the best fitting model was the seven-factor model, in which the four items from each DS subscale were loaded onto a latent variable representing that subscale. The seven-factor model also provided the best fit when the male and female samples were analyzed separately. In the individual country samples, the one-factor model of disgust provided the best fit to the data from Germany, Italy, and Sweden, whereas the correlated two-factor model provided the best fit to the data in the U.S. sample. Full measurement invariance was not found across language or gender. Although the pattern of factor loadings was consistent in most comparisons, the values of factor loadings were not found to be invariant in any of the comparisons. This indicated that the pattern but not the strength of the relationship between each subscale and its associated factor was equivalent across gender and language.

Subject Area

Clinical psychology|Quantitative psychology

Recommended Citation

Moretz, Melanie Wadkins, "The factor structure and measurement equivalency of the Disgust Scale across language and gender" (2009). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3384641.